Train severs blind man’s leg, railway cops wait and watch

MUMBAI: A blind man fell through the gap between a platform and a train at Kalyan station on Monday and severed a leg. Had it not been for three concerned citizens, he would have lost his life.

While the 35-year-old lay bleeding on the tracks, the three men saw five or six Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel standing beside the train, along with a porter. The trio walked up to the GRP cops and asked them why the injured man was not being pulled out. To that, a cop said they were waiting for the train to depart so that they could then lift the man from the tracks. Horrified, the trio rushed to the guard’s cabin and apprising him of the situation asked him to keep the train at halt. Then, with the help of a porter, the trio pulled out the injured man from under the train and took him to hospital.

“When I saw the blind man under the train, I asked the GRP cops present there why they weren’t helping him. They didn’t even bother to reply at first,” said one of the three good Samaritans, Satyajit Burman. “Then I heard one of the cops tell a porter that they should wait for the train to depart before doing anything. I was plain shocked. A moving train would have just killed the injured man who could surely have panicked.”

At Sion Hospital, where the injured man is admitted, doctors said he was critical; he had lost a lot of blood and also suffered serious head injuries. GRP DCP G S Bhandari said an inquiry had been initiated against the callous cops present at the scene of the accident. Activist Sameer Zaveri said their inaction was in violation of court orders on how accident victims should be treated by railway authorities and the GRP.

He said that as per court orders, railway authorities should admit serious victims of accidents to private hospitals lying within a radius of 5 km. “But in the case of the Kalyan victim, he was taken to Sion hospital for emergency treatment. Sion hospital is 50 km from the accident site and it must have taken two hours for the journey. In this period, the victim could have died.”

Every year sees thousands of people dying or getting seriously injured by falling off running trains, falling between trains and platforms, hitting railway poles and while crossing tracks. Last year, 3,541 people died and 3,808 were injured.

Every year, close to 4,000 people die on railway tracks. Neither activists’ pleas nor court directions has sensitized the railways or the Government Railway Police in dealing competently with accident victims. Tough action needs to be taken against the station master or GRP personnel for not providing timely medical attention to accident victims. Railway authorities should consider setting up medical centres at important stations. They should also tie up with ambulance service operators so that the golden hour is not wasted.